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Education and Socio-Economic Differentials: A Study of School Performance in the Western Cape

  • Ronelle Burger
  • Servaas van der Berg


    (University of Stellenbosch)

Not surprisingly, the education system is widely perceived to be the major tool to overcome human capital and labour market inequalities in South Africa. This paper asks how well the education system accomplishes this goal. The first part of the paper examines human capital differentials between races and provides evidence of persistent race-based educational attainment and quality differentials. It is argued that quality differentials in education may be much larger and more enduring than attainment differentials. The second part of the paper asks whether the deficiency lies in inadequate resource availability in schools of the poor or whether it rather stems from inefficiencies in parts of the school system. The paper uses national and Western Cape matriculation results and resource allocation data to examine this question and find that residuals are higher in predominantly black and coloured schools and there is no significant correlation between performance and resource allocation in this group of schools.

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Paper provided by University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit in its series Working Papers with number 03073.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Working Paper Series by the Development Policy Research Unit, March 2003, pages 1-23
Handle: RePEc:ctw:wpaper:03073
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  1. Julian F. Hofmeyr & Robert E. B. Lucas, 1998. "The Rise in Union Wage Premia in South Africa," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 83, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  2. Schultz, T.P. & Mwabu, G., 1995. "Education Returns Across Quantiles of the Wage Function: Alternative Explanation for Returns to Education by Race in South Africa," Papers 744, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  3. Lee, J.-W. & Barro, R.J., 1998. "Schooling Quality in a Cross Section of Countries," Papers 659, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  4. Pritchett, Lant, 1996. "Where has all the education gone?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1581, The World Bank.
  5. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," NBER Working Papers 3358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Eric A. Hanushek, 2002. "Publicly Provided Education," NBER Working Papers 8799, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Alan B. Krueger, 1997. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," NBER Working Papers 6051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:3:p:1047-1084 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Servaas van der Berg & Louise Wood & Neil le Roux, 2002. "Differentiation in black education," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 289-306.
  10. Anne Case & Motohiro Yogo, 1999. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Schools in South Africa," Working Papers 219, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  11. Murray Leibbrandt & Haroon Bhorat, 1999. "Modelling Vulnerability and Low Earnings in the South African Labour Market," Working Papers 99032, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  12. Eric A. Hanushek, 1996. "Measuring Investment in Education," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 9-30, Fall.
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